Battlefield 5 is without doubt one of the most perplexing video game releases of recent years. Not because there isn’t a thunderous, entertaining World War II multiplayer shooter here, because there is. But because it is so resolutely unfinished.
Even putting aside the staggered release that publisher EA has begun to put into practice (with EA Access subscribers and Deluxe Edition owners getting to play the game early), Battlefield 5 arrives on its official release date with chunks missing. Faded out menu options with promised December release dates for the Tides of War multiplayer meta-game, the practice range and even an entire chapter of an already brief campaign mode. Not to mention the absence of Battlefield’s take on the Battle Royale phenomenon; its 64-player, last-man-standing skirmish now due in March next year.
Most baffling is whether any of this is intentional or not. EA still seems to be wrestling with its approach to its big-ticket blockbusters, after pledging to ditch the paid-for season pass (and lose the highly controversial loot boxes that blighted Star Wars Battlefront II last year) the company has moved to a model of free regular updates. A fine enough principle in this age of games-as-service and immovable competition such as Fortnite. A model which is fast becoming an industry-standard.